The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension (1984) Poster

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Get over it, junior Eberts!
sober_gaijin28 January 2004
I've read several comments by people under the age of 30 who trash on this film, call it crap, and characterize us fans as vapid, thorazine-addled retards. Whatever makes you happy, folks! If trashing on a film that was seminal in the annals of low-budget cinematic resourcefulness makes you feel special then I'm happy for you.

There is a reason we love this film. The script is clever, a veritable mosaic of silly twists and throwaway jokes so layered that it takes multiple viewings to keep up with it all (favorite line: "It's not my ******* planet, Monkey Boy!"). And the direction and approach is equally exciting: rather than annoy us with underfinanced special effects that pretend to be Lucasfilm quality, the director revels in his low budget, using conk shells as models for space ships and populating alien ship interiors with tubes, pipes, rods and duct tape. The aliens come off as resourceful-albeit-goofy packrats, bumbling about and managing to stay just a few steps ahead of Buckaroo until the very end.

For many of us over 30, this film was something special. We caught it at midnight movie houses and relished in the warm presence of a movie made by people who shared our dark, twisted senses of humor. In college, it was a regular rental; we held Bonzai parties, dressed as characters, turned it into our private video Rocky Horror. No, it's not Citizen Kane ... but what do you want from a movie called Buckaroo Bonzai?
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Best viewed while wearing an aluminum foil helmet
acts212017 September 2005
This is the most bizarre movie I've ever seen - and it is one of my absolute favorites. The jokes are deeply embedded, and you have to pay close attention. The super-car that breaks sound (and dimensional) barriers idles when the ignition is turned off... the test code for the oscillation overthruster jet car is a spelling variation of "signed, sealed, delivered"... The high-tech, alien-technology visi-glasses are made of pink bubble wrap...amidst the deafening screams of fans and the jazz playing horn section of the Hong Kong Cavaliers, Buckaroo hears one single person crying.... It's these bizarre little jokes are that make the movie great, but they are not every one's cup of tea. It's good to have a very strange sense of humor - otherwise, you just won't understand why it's funny when... well, you just won't get why the movie is funny at all!
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If you're looking for a predictable film, do not watch this
sleeper-1014 March 2000
TAOBBATED, as I will acronymize this film, is neither the stupid low-budget piece of excrement nor the sublimely original cult masterpiece you've been told it is, but it's a lot closer to the latter than to the former. Peter Weller plays Buckaroo, the titular neurosurgeon/inventor/modern-day samurai/Billy Joelesque rocker, and he plays him frightfully well, low-key and distant but with occasional glimmers of genius and intensity. The stellar supporting cast includes Jeff Goldblum, Clancy Brown, John Lithgow, Christopher Lloyd, and Ellen Barkin, and they're all pretty darn good.

I'm not even going to pretend to be rational or unbiased about this movie. It's too utterly offbeat and original and just damned _odd_ to not love. Some favorite scenes: the opening sequence of the Jet Car test run; Buckaroo's phone call with the Black Lectroids, and his subsequent detection of the sinister Red Lectroid agents in his midst; the eerie recorded message from the Black Lectroid leader, the "good guys" who threaten to blow up Earth unless Buckaroo stops their enemy, Dr. Lizardo (Lithgow, in a truly twisted scene-chewing performance). Yes, it looks cheesy and dated, but damn it, you have to take a stand somewhere in life, you have to roll up your sleeves and step up to the plate and put yourself on the line, and have the courage to say, "I don't care what anyone thinks of me, I love this movie." That's the way I feel about old Buckaroo and his Hong Kong Cavaliers, and I still consider myself a loyal Blue Blaze Irregular fifteen years after seeing this film.

As a post-script, I'd like to mention that the novelization of this movie, written by Earl Mac Rauch, is great, and actually contains about 3 times the information and plot that is in the movie. If you can find it on Amazon or at a garage sale somewhere, snap it up, it's worth the search. Also, there's a script for BUCKAROO BANZAI VERSUS THE WORLD CRIME LEAGUE floating around too, which should be made no matter the cost if only to film one priceless scene - the cameo appearance of Jack Burton, Kurt Russell's swaggering truck driver hero from John Carpenter's BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA, who appears as a Blue Blaze Irregular and gives Team Banzai a lift!
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John Bigboote, look they have sweet 'n low
AZINDN18 December 2006
Slicker than a seal in water, The Adventures of Buckaroo Bonzai Across the 8th Dimensions is adult fare for those with a warped, droll, and completely irreverent sense of humor. Like the man himself, part musician/scientist/good guy in a pinch, this film falls into the cult status simply because it is too good to be anything else. Facing war in the 8th Dimension by an invasion of the world from a species of electroids all named John (Big Boote, Warfin, Parker, Ya-Ya, Small Berries, and so forth) from Planet 10, and who work for YoYoDyne Propulsion at Grovers Mills, NJ, Buckaroo must save the planet by sunset all the while making fun of everything and everyone with the straightest face in film history. With a cast of newbie actors of notable prestige today, but then just starting their careers, the cast include Peter Weller as Buckaroo, Ellen Barkin as Penny, John Lithgow as Dr. Emilio Lazardo/Lord John Warfin, Jeff Goldblum as New Jersey, Robert Ito and Clancey Brown.

A film that must be viewed on numerous occasions if only to catch the banter in background comments by actors off camera, or to assure oneself that what you heard was right, it is filled with hilarious pun on punning, and created such an audience following that include several highly paid scientist-types at the nation's most prestigious museum complex in the world who would monthly hold Saturday night viewings of the film to discuss. More subtle than Rocky Horror, more intelligent than any self-important Spielberg offering, and best of all, a showcase of the best costumes of the worst 1980s clothing styles including huge shoulder padded costumes worn by men and women.

Buckaroo Bonzai is must viewing for completely laughable entertainment for those who like their sci-fi entertainment way, way off-kilter. And remember: wherever you go -- there you are.
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Don't take it too seriously and you will enjoy
a_gulliver22 August 2003
This is a fun film. It doesn't take itself seriously and neither should the viewer.

The plot centres around a pre-Robocop Peter Weller's character (the implausibly named Buckaroo Banzai) who is a scientist/rock musician/surgeon...seems to be talented at just about everything. In his lab he perfects a device for travelling through solid matter on the pretext that 'solid matter' is in fact 80% empty space. True enough and so far so good.

In the movie, the 80% of matter that is space turns out to be the 8th dimention, and Banzai unwittingly causes some nasty alien "lectoids" to enter our dimension. With the help of good lectoids he and his rock band have to save the day.

John Lithgow really steals the show with some excellent madcap lines. The big name actors clearly knew this was not to be taken seriously and though the plot is OK it is the one-liners in the script that make the movie so enjoyable. Special FX are early 80's par for the course, this is not the highest budget film ever! The only question is why didn't the advertised sequal ever make it to the screen?
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Odd title, odd movie.
Boba_Fett113824 July 2007
Not too sure what to think about this movie. It seems like its a spoof, of what, I do not know however. Perhaps of comic-book type of movies from the '80's, or adventurous serials from the '30's/40's? But then again there's the problem that the movie is not really funny and on top of that, also not so very well made. Guess the movie can best be seen as a cult-classic, for the fans of it.

To be honest, the movie began well and promising. It developed some potentially interesting characters and plot lines but for some reason as the movie progresses they don't get handled well. The movie becomes more crazy and crazy as the movie heads toward the ending. At one point I even stopped caring and wanting to understand what the movie was all about. It was confusing, it was poor but above all it was odd.

The movie could had been fun, the movie could had been action filled but yet it all isn't. It's wasted potential, cause I guess that in essence Buckaroo Banzai isn't really a bad fun movie main-hero.

The movie is only fun now really with its character's names. All of the alien's their first name is John and they have names such as John Bigboote, John O'Connor and John Smallberries. But other than that, there isn't really much fun present in the movie. The many famous actors however still provide the movie with some fun and this uplifts the movie. Amazing how many great actors are in this movie such as Ellen Barkin, Jeff Goldblum, Christopher Lloyd, Clancy Brown, Ronald Lacey, Vincent Schiavelli and Dan Hedaya. John Lithgow is deliciously overacting as the movie its main villain but I just wish that he had more sequences and was made more interesting as a character. Peter Weller was a great leading man in the '80's and he shows with this movie how well he can carry a movie.

The special effects are all decent for '80's standards but perhaps overused a bit too much. The musical score is typically '80's like and absolutely horrible. Further more the movie is fairly well looking, too bad inexperienced director W.D. Richter doesn't know how to use everything to its full potential.

Yet it's not all that bad and the movie still entertains, so the movie obviously still has some redeeming qualities which makes this still a bit of a watchable movie.

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I had forgotten how good this was!
emswife1 January 2003
What a great way to start the New Year! I just watched this flick for the first time in ages and remember now why I agree that it is a "cult classic"!

Made in 1984 way before most of the actors achieved real star status, this movie has so many "inside" references and jokes, it's a wonder that more isn't made of it! And if you are a real Star Trek fan, you will know that Yoyodyne Propulsion is on the commissioning plaque for the Enterprise as well as other Star Fleet vessels. The references to Grover's Mill and Orson Wells along with the whole deadpan tone of the film makes this an unbelievably funny experience. I only wish that "Buckaroo Banzai versus The World Crime League" had been produced.

Peter Weller, Jeff Goldblum, John Lithgow, Ellen Barkin, Dan Hedaya, the entire cast must have had a great time making this movie. It is full of technojargon, double speak and just plain funny stuff that pokes fun at every bad B-movie scifi thriller/comic book/Saturday serial ever made. There is no bad language and no skin and lots to hear and see in this great movie!

It has one redeeming quality above all else for me... it makes the effects on Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and all of those other poor excuses for Saturday kid's entertainment look ridiculous. If the producers of this crap on TV that passes for action need some pointers on how to take useless stuff and make a cool, funny scifi flick, they need look no further that "The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eight Dimension"!
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"Monkey Boy" just isn't all that funny
Snootz22 October 2019
Despite raving reviews and ardent fans insulting the intelligence of those who don't acclaim this as an undying classic... seriously, it's just not that great.

Weird? Yes. Unusual? Campy? Nutso? Yes on all counts. But major chunks of plot are evidently left to the telepathic abilities of the audience, and performances are either wooden or seriously over-the-top. John Lithgow is the saving grace of this film, and his role is totally insane.

From a cinematic and production viewpoint, this is not top-shelf. From a story line viewpoint, it's silly. Not that there's anything wrong with silly... if it's good silly. But this is camp that intends to be camp and fails. It's humor that sometimes kinda works but usually doesn't. It has one truly memorable line... and even in that "No matter where you go, there you are" just isn't all that funny. I'm sure some folks find it hysterical. Hey, to each his own, monkey boy.

There are many, many viewers who consider themselves some sort of elite group because they "get" this film and if you don't agree, you're just clueless. The truth is some people are going to love this... and a whole lot more won't even bother writing a rewiew. I love campy films, and sci fi camp more than anything-- if it's well done. This isn't well-done camp. The directing is disjointed and inconclusive. Overall it just sort of hits the end and... ends.

The supposed "secret references" are often fictional. (One reviewer drooled over the supposed subtle hilarity of them using bubble wrap as a prop. Ha ha.) For Easter Eggs, try Ready Player One. Truth be told, most of the supposed "hidden jokes" in this film are more viewer imagination than reality.

I really don't know why this became a cult classic. There's no denying that it did, nor that many people absolutely breathe this film. That doesn't mean viewers *have* to love it... or that anyone is stupid in declaring it "not the best movie ever made"-- because it really isn't (not by a long shot).

If someone loves this film... good on ya and more power to you. That doesn't mean that people who dislike this film are idiots. It means they demand a bit more in cinematic experience than "let's throw stuff at the screen and see what sticks". This *could* have been a great film. With a bit better script, a bit less cocky directing, and a bit more story this could have been an all-time great. Unfortunately it falls significantly short of that. Be a starry-eyed fanboy all one wants, this one needed a bit more polish.

Some people think a man running around in a rubber Godzilla suit is the height of movie history. Other people... not so much. Doesn't mean that either one is wrong. It means that Buckaroo Banzai may prove to be an acquired taste... or one that is unpalatable.
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This Movie Is Great! Or is it?
tzer08 July 2004
You will either love or hate this movie. If you get it it is a barrel of laughs. If you don't get it, you say . . . What the hell is this nonsense? It has been said that it's a comedy with all the punchlines removed. But they are there, you just have to read between the lines. It's kind of like one of those Magic Eye Puzzles. You have to look at it with the right kind of eyes. Otherwise you'll just see it as a crappy 80s sci-fi spoof. But trust me, there's more there than meets the eye. Some of the jokes aren't obvious on first viewing, or the 100th for that matter. You may want to consult the DVD extras or Pinky Caruther's 10,000 little known facts. With a bit of research, you can find out the reasons why that watermelon is there!
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A Unique, Epic Adventure
jhclues7 April 2002
Since the release of this film in 1984, it has achieved bona fide cult status, and with good reason; for it is, without question, one of the most unique offerings in the universe of cinematic science fiction. chock-full of quirky, memorable characters and scenes, `The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension,' directed by W.D. Richter, is laced with clever dialogue, action, adventure and surprises. And where else are you ever going to find a main character who is a scientist, brain surgeon and rock n' roll star all rolled up into one?

After years of research, Buckaroo Banzai (Peter Weller) and his colleague, Professor Hikita (Robert Ito), have successfully developed an `overthruster,' a device that has allowed Buckaroo to pass through solid matter-- a mountain, in fact-- driving through it at high speed in his specially designed and equipped car. But when his achievement hits the news, it captures the attention of the mad Dr. Emilio Lizardo (John Lithgow), who catches the story on television from his room in the insane asylum, where he has been a resident for many years, ever since his own attempt at developing an overthruster failed.

But though Lizardo's trial run with the overthruster failed, it did put him in contact with alien beings from another realm, one of whom-- Lord John Whorfin-- has since that encounter inhabited Lizardo's mind and body. They are Red Lectroids from Planet 10 by way of the 8th dimension, stranded on earth (in human form) and awaiting the development of the overthruster, which will enable them to return home. These are dangerous and resourceful beings, and they are about to take Buckaroo Banzai-- currently on tour with his band, The Hong Kong Cavaliers-- by surprise. And soon, all that will stand between the Red Lectroids and the destruction of the earth, will be Buckaroo, his band and some help from his loyal followers, the `Blue Blazer Regulars.'

Working from the highly imaginative, clever and detailed screenplay by Earl Mac Rauch, Richter has fashioned and delivered a colorful and exciting adventure filled with subtle humor, the unexpected and an array of outrageous characters, from Whorfin and the Lectroids (all of whom have the first name `John'), to Buckaroo's cohorts like `Perfect Tommy (Lewis Smith)' and New Jersey (Jeff Goldblum), to the alluring, mysterious woman Buckaroo encounters, Penny Priddy (Ellen Barkin). It's an unconventional, yet readily accessible film that Richter has packed with interesting asides, lines and situations, all of which drive the story forward and keep you guessing as to what could possibly happen next. He throws so much at you, in fact, that it's impossible to catch it all the first time through; but it's a movie that lends itself to repeated viewings, because it's exactly what this kind of film is supposed to be: Pure entertainment from start to finish.

Peter Weller is perfectly cast as Buckaroo, and he successfully captures all of the elements that make his character the ultimate Renaissance Man of the immediate future. With this performance, Weller becomes the personification of the genius, adventurer and master-of-all-things; it's the definitive portrayal of a unique individual, quite unlike any ever presented on the silver screen before. Weller's Buckaroo is intelligent and self-assured-- watching him you get the feeling there's always something going on in his head, and always a step ahead of the next guy-- and it's his ability to convey the complexities of the character that makes him believable, and his incredible exploits seem credible. Simply put, Weller has taken a comic book character and made him real, and it makes the film work.

As Lizardo/Whorfin, John Lithgow takes it magnificently over the top with a character that is something of a precursor to his High Commander Dick Solomon on TV's `3rd Rock from the Sun.' And watching this guy in action is a real kick. He's larger than life, wildly animated and extroverted, while affecting an accent that's a veritable smorgasbord of dialect. He lumbers along like a mutated Quasimodo, and when he gives a speech to his fellow Red Lectroids about going `home,' it's one of the most hilarious scenes you're ever going to see anywhere. There's definitely a method to Lithgow's madness, and it's a terrific performance.

Christopher Lloyd also turns in a winning performance as another of the Red Lectroids, `John Bigboote,' and his exchanges with Lithgow are a riot (especially when Lizardo insists on calling him `Big-Booty,' and Bigboote adamantly insists that it is pronounced `Bigboo-TAY!'). And that's just an example of the many, many finer and detailed elements Richter uses to make this film so enjoyable and successful, from consistently funny verbal exchanges to broad physical humor, all interspersed with the action and woven seamlessly into the story.

The additional supporting cast includes Rosalind Cash (John Emdall), Pepe Serna (Reno Nevada), Matt Clark (McKinley), Clancy Brown (Rawhide), Carl Lumbly (John Parker), Vincent Schiavelli (John O'Connor), Dan Hedaya (John Gomez), Bill Henderson (Casper), Damon Hines (Scooter), Billy Vera (Pinky Carruthers), Ronald Lacey (President Widmark) and William Traylor (General Catburd). A film that will take you on a wild ride and into regions beyond the known, `The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension' is that most rare treasure among cinematic discoveries: A truly unique film. It's enthralling and entertaining, and will keep you laughing and involved no matter how many times you see it. And it's filled with great lines you'll be able to quote endlessly and use for any occasion. Or, as Buckaroo himself would say, `No matter where you go, there you are...' It's the magic of the movies. I rate this one 9/10.
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a really good idea for a movie that never really jelled
planktonrules17 August 2005
This movie had so many things going for it: cool characters (such as the ultra-hip Buckaroo Banzai, the totally nutty Dr. Lizardo and Buckaroo's many sidekicks), cool effects, a weird and quirky story and a lot of energy. However, all these together just didn't work--as if somewhere the energy all vanished and the film had been hastily put together from outtakes. It is a real shame, as the idea of a rock and roll pretty boy who lives a life of adventure AND saves the world is a really cool idea--like a comic book and an old movie serial combined into one! But what happened?! I kept expecting it to pick up speed, but it just kept getting duller throughout. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE consider making a newer and much better re-make--the BASIC elements of a great movie are here and waiting to be utilized. As it is, the movie is at best average.
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The all star movie you've never heard about
siderite9 February 2020
This movie is a joke. It's up to you if you like the joke or not. Everything in it is over the top, all except the budget, which must have been close to zero. I have no idea what Peter Weller, John Lithgow, Jeff Goldblum and Christopher Lloyd were thinking when they joined the cast, but it's pretty clear that they had a lot of fun.

The plot makes no sense whatsoever, the characters are all part of scientist rockstar gangs, the story is part pulp comic book part Scooby Doo and the acting is so random that it is hilarious. This is one of those movies that you watch in disbelief and when it ends you kind of feel you wanted more. It's one of those "What the hell did I just watch?" things. I highly recommend you watch this either drunk, stoned or both. It will improve the level of understanding.
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Laugh While (If) You Can, Monkey Boy!
Arriflex119 November 2004
"So what? Big deal."- A Lectroid commander in THE ADVENTURES OF BUCKAROO BANZAI.

Greetings honorary members of the Hong Kong Cavaliers and to all you neutral observers and detractors as well. Hoping to clarify the mystery and purpose of this 1984 docudrama, I have scoured all available data (including movie reviews), scrutinized the musings of the film's director via the DVD's special features, and held extensive conferences with official representatives of the Banzai Institute for Biomedical Engineering and Strategic Information. I hasten to point out that my findings are inconclusive and that many questions remain.

The film is (negatively) a rambling, disjointed pastiche of pseudo-hip, sci-fi/comic book inspired shenanigans that (positively) manages to generate inordinate amounts of charm and wonder through its fortuitous collusion of eccentric story line (battling aliens; a deeply depressed damsel-in-distress, (Penny Priddy); the actual Hong Kong Cavaliers honing their rock and roll chops; Buckaroo himself, pushing his new jet car- with the incredible Oscillation Overthruster -through the forbidding regions of the 8th dimension) and the glowing charisma of the actors at play: John Lithgow's Dr. Lizardo is hilarious and ingenious. W.D. Richter's nerdy persona obscures his inability to fashion Earl Mac Rauch's free-wheeling screenplay into a coherent whole. Still, the many facets of the story remain intriguing and Michael Boddicker's synthesized music is majestic and buoyant.

However, the questions persist. What did happen at Grover's Mill in October of 1938? Was Orson Welles part of an invasion plot that involved mass hypnosis? Are there extraterrestrial biological entities living among us? Documentation outlining an thorough governmental inquiry into these matters has reached this commentator. A report by the investigators, special agents Mulder and Scully, shall be made available to the public in due course. A final note: a page, supposedly torn from Welles' personal diary and written in a shaky, nearly illegible hand, carried the following, ominous message: keep watching the skies!
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Buckaroo Banzai
questl-1859220 May 2021
Saw the title and couldn't NOT watch it. This is an absurdly 80s, absurdly absurd movie about... I don't even know but it was crazy and I want more of this type of thing. Movies that are just bonkers and yet still try to ground in some sort of reality. It's a balance I think we've lost but the 80s nailed. It's a weird watch, but if you're looking for crazy, you found it.
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When cult classics go wrong
rparham7 June 2006
Warning: Spoilers
If there was ever a film to define the term "cult hit," it is The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai. A box-office flop when originally released in 1984, the film nonetheless drew a significant following on video and cable, even to the point where a television series was pitched a few years back. However, the flip side of being a cult hit is that there is a substantial portion of the audience that is mystified as to what that small group of followers sees in the original material. I find myself among the ranks of those who look at Buckaroo Banzai and say "Huh?" Nonsensical, lacking in energy or humor, Buckaroo Banzai is pretty much an exercise in strangeness for strangeness sake, and that just doesn't add up to an entertaining time at the movies.

The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai focuses on the leader of an eccentric group of scientists/rock musicians, The Hong Kong Cavaliers, who travel throughout the country, play clubs and research particle physics as well. They carry weapons, drive around in a tour bus, and have a small army of volunteers, named the Blue Blazers. Buckaroo (Peter Weller) is a highly skilled neurosurgeon who gave up full time medical practice to engage in his eclectic lifestyle, and has, with the assistance of his surrogate father, Professor Hikita (Robert Ito), invented a jet car that can travel through solid matter by transposing to the Eighth Dimension. This is accomplished by a device known as the Oscillation Overthruster, designed by Hikita, which quickly becomes a much sought after item.

It turns out that Hikita has been developing it since the '30s, where during an early experiment, his partner, Dr. Emilio Lizardo (John Lithgow), partially entered the Eighth Dimension and was possessed by a red Lectroid trapped there. He then managed to bring his fellow Lectroids to Earth, and upon learning of the successful test of the Overthruster, plans to use it to return to Planet 10, where his kind is from. Attempting to thwart this plan are black Lectroids, who team up with Buckaroo to fight Lizardo. At the same time, Buckaroo discovers the existence of Penny (Ellen Barkin) the twin sister of his dead wife, Peggy, which adds to his difficulties.

If you can follow the above plot description, then congratulations, you may be able to decipher Buckaroo Banzai. However, the film's convoluted plotting will most likely prove off-putting to most audience members. In place of a coherent plot, Buckaroo Banzai would seem to want to jazz us with it's rather off-the-cuff, anything goes attitude, but it proves to create mostly indifference. The film wants to be a science fiction parody, theoretically sending up the genre, but it's difficult to determine exactly what it is parodying. A lot of the scenes attempt to be funny, but they fail to be. Screenwriter Earl Mac Rauch and director W.D. Richter have decided to treat this movie like darts tossed at a wall: throw enough and something is going to stick. Yet, in the end, nothing really does, and the endless collection of disconnected ideas proves almost distracting, not fun.

The characters are also rather non-existent. Few of them make much of a distinct impression; most are just surface glitter, distracting us with wackiness, while lacking much of a core underneath. Who really is Buckaroo Banzai, or any of his co-horts? Peter Weller turns in a performance that could best be described as indifferent, breezing through the movie with the same basic expression and even level of energy. Jeff Goldblum is entertaining as one of his sidekicks, dressing up as a cowboy, but there isn't much outside of the outfit. When a character close to Buckaroo dies, there isn't a tear to be found because we barely know him. Also, the relationship between Buckaroo and Penny is almost nonexistent, and there is no chemistry between them to speak of.

On the villainous front, John Lithgow turns in an acid-addled performance as Lizardo, but again, it's just over the top weirdness that fails to be very engaging. The character is saddled with an Italian accent that makes dialogue difficult to decipher at times, but even when you can, it's just not funny. The rest of the villains are filled out with veteran character actors (Christopher Lloyd, Dan Hedaya, Vincent Schiavelli), but they are just random bodies in the background.

There are countless individuals who worship at the throne of Buckaroo Banzai, and there are more than a few cult films that have proved to be enduring entertainment (W.D. Richter's next writing assignment, Big Trouble in Little China, among them). But Buckaroo Banzai does not pass muster, proving that occasionally cult status is not a good measure of quality.
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a "cult" film that knows nearly no boundaries of creativity with its zany appeal
Quinoa198431 January 2009
The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai is a movie I dearly wish I could have seen on the big screen back in the 80s (if I had been old enough for it at the least). It's so, well "80's" but it isn't completely trapped in it. What it's about is... damn, should I even try? Actually, it does have a cohesive narrative, and more surprising because in the first few minutes, even with opening crawl, one is a little lost in exactly what's going on except a) Buckaroo Banzai had an American mother and Japanese father (and is played by Peter Weller who doesn't look like the latter much at all), and b) he goes through dimensions or something looking for martial arts moves. We soon find out he has mastered driving a car through mountains- since, you know, they are loaded with empty spaces and the particles are just so tiny to bother with- and has discovered an alien being, all of this in New Jersey.

WHICH, you may recall, was the place where Orson Welles's rendition of War of the Worlds was placed in in the small town of Grover's Mill... turns out it wasn't a hoax and aliens had actually taken over Welles's mind and made him put on the broadcast. And, indeed, aliens have come to earth and may incinerate it and/or have the Russians involved somehow if Buckaroo and his men of scientists-cum-rock-and-rollers don't fight back against the maniacal Dr. Lizardo (John Lithgow playing some kind of, um, Italian baddie zapped with Alien prowess). Can he do it in time or will the president have to resort to war? Can he save his damsel-in-distress in the form of suicidal-turned-doctor Penny Priddy (Ellen Barkin)? Why is Jeff Goldblum dressed up as a cowboy for the bulk of the movie AND from Fort Lee, NJ (a town, incidentally, not very far from my own home)?

All these questions and more are... answered I suppose during The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai. This is like someone digested a whole truckload of pulp/sci-fi/whatever comic books and adventure serials- think Howard the Duck if it was *intentionally* awesome- and wrote a screenplay. Where else will we get Peter Weller, cinema's RoboCop AND star of Naked Lunch, playing a sort of super-hero who rocks out amazingly, invents things, propels through time and space, and can kill easily and swiftly while fighting for the woman on his arm? And where else will we see John Lithgow snarl and bug-eye Italian (?) and do all odds and ends of WOW things that mark this as a major career achievement? Here is where, and it's a lot of fun to see every cheesy line spoke ("Damn John Whorfin and the horse he rode in on" or "BigbooTAY!" or even "If you fail, we will be forced to help you destroy yourselves!") with the kind of delivery that just goes to show how much a would-be Buckaroo Banzai ala Southland Tales fails so much by comparison.

It's a wonder to behold, with every crazy synthesizer beat, with every other new turn of a wacky performance, and of course that final end credits sequence that will be etched in my mind forever as something really great to keep me in my seat before turning off the TV. This is how a 'cult' film should operate: don't try and please everyone, just do what you set out to do, however tenacious and maniacal and manic it may be with however many willing and able character actors and/or occasional stars, and you'll please immensely those who look for this kind of stuff. Like me.
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Witty Sci-Fi Spoof
lonevector20006 June 2005
W.D Richter's Buckaroo Banzai succeeds on many levels, thanks to a wonderfully droll sensibility and inspired casting. Peter Weller lends a perfect, dead-pan seriousness to the very 'out there' proceedings, while John Lithgow chews up the scenery as the fiendish Dr. Lizardo. Ellen Barkin is particularly fetching as Penny Priddy, while Jeff Goldblum stakes out his turf with an engaging feverishness that is all his own. Christopher Lloyd takes a relatively low-key approach to his role and does well for it, allowing for Lithgow's extravagance. Welding the pieces together is a delirious, kinetic script by Earl M. Rauch.The film, although essentially a spoof of science fiction films and comic book superheroes, remains a delightful, inventive enigma of eighties cinema. The look of the picture is quite good, and (considering it's meager budget) highly-digestible. Given that the film never found a mass audience, it is surprising that so many individuals seem to remember it as vividly, and as fondly as they do. I can only hope that after everyone has gotten their fill of a certain "galaxy far, far away", that a return to the more substantial basics of storytelling and characterization is deemed imperative. Meanwhile sit back, relax, and laugh yourself silly with a charming, 'little' film that tends to be so much more.
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Equally odd and awesome
I_Ailurophile22 May 2022
What a ride! There's so very much going on in this movie that I can't fathom trying to explain the plot to another person. The plot is a wild jumble of pure science fiction ballyhoo, bizarre adventure rambling, and light comedy that's at once both incongruous and a perfect match. Even the greatest enthusiast of pulp comics from the early to mid-20th century would surely be bewildered - a simple description of even the characters is such a peculiar mishmash that it's hard to believe they could all be lumped together into one story; dialogue stirs together not just technobabble but a consistent string of words that would utterly confound film-makers from several decades past. The plot is complete, coherent, and cohesive, yet it's not hard to think that if one weren't paying active attention then it would be very easy to entirely lose track of what was going on. If all this sounds like a feature that's impossible to enjoy, well, the initial history of how it was received speaks volumes - yet so does its subsequent acceptance as a cult classic. 'The adventures of Buckaroo Banzai across the Eighth Dimension' is a weird, wonderful experience.

For all the ridiculousness on hand, there's not one scrap of the picture that isn't cheekily earnest - or is that earnestly cheeky? The narrative and scene writing is overflowing with outstanding detail that builds and enriches its world, and every element of the production is approached with the same attentiveness. From almost garish costume design, hair, and makeup, to marvelous set design and decoration and imaginative props and set pieces; from practical creature creations to special effects, and fantastic lighting - everything is buzzing with strange, inspired energy. And that includes the large, incredible cast, all unmistakably embracing the absurdity and making 'Buckaroo Banzai' ever more delightful. That especially goes for John Lithgow, whose portrayal of archvillain Lord John Whorfin is characterized with vibrant electricity and substantial chewing of scenery; as much fun as it is to watch Peter Weller and all his co-stars play it straight, Lithgow's frenzied acting is surely one of the top highlights of the picture.

Factor in jolly original music composed by Michael Boddicker, and it takes nothing at all to fall in love with this. I'm not saying it's an world-class masterpiece, but there was no intent here except to have an outlandish good time, and there's no question that it roundly succeeded. Anyone who can't get on board with utmost genre flick nonsense should probably just steer clear, but for those receptive to whatever the wide world of cinema has to offer, and especially for those who love far-fetched romps, I dare say this is an essential classic. Even the scene playing out behind the end credits comes off as a perfect, lighthearted capstone to the saga we've just witnessed, letting our last impression be a glowing smile. From the title alone one can tell 'The adventures of Buckaroo Banzai across the Eighth Dimension' is going to be preposterous - and it most certainly is - but the heart and hard work that went into it is altogether admirable. I'm so pleased to have finally watched this, and it definitely gets my solid recommendation!
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dimensions of wackiness
lee_eisenberg7 June 2013
"The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension" is a movie that understands full well what kind of movie it is and so they made it as zany as possible. Peter Weller was a few years away from playing RoboCop when he played the renaissance man who travels through solid matter and brings Earth into confrontation with aliens. What was particularly neat was when they noted that all matter is mostly empty space due to the spinning of the atoms (which presumably makes it possible to travel through the matter). And of course the part about Orson Welles's radio broadcast was cool. But mostly, the movie is just fun, and it looks like the sort of movie that they probably had fun making. As long as you accept it as an unabashedly silly flick, you're sure to enjoy it. Weller, as well as John Lithgow, Ellen Barkin, Jeff Goldblum and the rest turn in some great performances.
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No Matter Where You Go, There You Are
wes-connors21 February 2009
Buckaroo Banzai's latest adventure (and, his first revealed in any media) begins with Peter Weller as the Samurai, "renaissance man, neurosurgeon, physicist, race car driver, rock star, AND comic book hero" test driving his Jet Car through a mountain. Due to the vehicle's "oscillation overthruster", Mr. Weller emerges unscathed - he and his Jet Car pass through solid matter. Unfortunately, the car picks up a glob of inter-dimensional matter. Coincidentally (actually, not coincidentally ), super-weird physicist John Lithgow (as Emilio Lizardo) ends his five decade residency at the "New Brunswick Home for the Criminally Insane"...

As it turns out, Mr. Lithgow is an alien (they are all named "John") from "Planet 10". On Halloween 1938, Lithgow and some "Red Lectroids" arrived on Earth. Their mission failed, and many were thrown into "The 8th Dimension". This event was, by the way, was misinterpreted as an invasion from Mars, by Orson Welles, during his infamous October 30, 1938 radio broadcast version of H.G. Wells' "War of the Worlds". By the late 1960s, other media hinted at the continued Lectroid presence. Examples include ABC-TV's "The Invaders" and novelist Thomas Pynchon's "The Crying of Lot 49".

Presently, defeating the Red Lectroid invaders is up to multi-talented "Buckaroo Banzai" (Weller) and his hard-rocking team of "Hong Kong Cavaliers": Lewis Smith (as Perfect Tommy), Jeff Goldblum (as New Jersey), Clancy Brown (as Rawhide), Pepe Serna (as Reno Nevada), and Billy Vera (as Pinky Carruthers). Suicidal Ellen Barkin (as Penny Priddy) provides Banzai romantic interest.

"The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai (Across the 8th Dimension)" is intelligent fun, from writer Earl Mac Rauch and director W.D. Richter. Lithgow is a perfect Lectroid, "Laugh while you can, monkey boy!" Really, he and the likes of Vincent Schiavelli (as John O'Connor) couldn't be anyone but aliens, could they? In hindsight, perhaps the "Black Letroid" and "Penny Priddy" parts might have been better re-worked. Still, it's a classic. And, it still leaves you looking forward to "Buckaroo Banzai Against the World Crime League", with Weller and the Cavaliers.

******** The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai (1984) W.D. Richter ~ Peter Weller, John Lithgow, Lewis Smith
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A fun take-off on adventure movies
jeffnewfeld9 November 2003
Aliens hiding on Earth, all with the first name of "John". A deranged mad scientist named Dr. Emilio Lizardo. A band of sidekicks named the Hong Kong Cavaliers. And in the center of it, Buckaroo Bonzai -- the part-time particle physicist, part-time brain surgeon, part-time rock'n'roller. How could this not be fun?

You're not watching this for the deep inner meaning. You're watching this because it's ridiculous and the actors know it is. John Lithgow is absolutely over the top as Lizardo. And Jeff Goldblum does a great comic turn as New Jersey.
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A witty yet dry 'british stylized' comedy
ractajeno5 June 2005
If you like The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy or Red Dwarf, chances are you'll enjoy Buckaroo Bonzai. It is full of subtle/dry humor and has an overall upbeat mood. The subtly dry humor is found in the background audio as well as the odds and ends that find their way into the set decor and dialog. These offer a nice array of silliness to punctuate the story with their own unique twists of humor.

The cast is definitely All Star! Peter Weller (Robocop), John Lithgow (Third Rock from the Sun), Robert Ito (Quincy MD), Clancy Brown (Highlander), Ellen Barkin (Wild Bill), and Christopher Lloyd (Back to the Future) all have fun and amusing roles. Even the minor roles are covered well by perhaps lesser known yet veteran cast members such as Rosalind Cash and Matt Clark.

If you're a fan of British humor, you should definitely enjoy this one, even though it may take more than one viewing to catch all the subtleties. If you haven't been exposed to this style of humor, this certainly isn't a bad place to start! If, on the other hand, this style of humor is not what you enjoy, it may not be the one for you. For everyone else, kick back and enjoy! If it weren't a bit of a cult classic, I doubt it would be available on DVD. I give it a 7 out of 10 since it may not be for everyone. Personally, I rate it a notch higher.
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Remember, no matter where you go - there you are.
TheOneThatYouWanted17 March 2018
Remember, no matter where you go - there you are. No doubt about it, Banzai Buckaroo is a cool character and some of the members of his team work well for days. The problem is you have these interesting characters in a film that sort of, kind of su&ks. But that is all thanks to the villains of the film whom more than wear out their welcome which means the director is probably the one to blame but let me just confirm that via IMDB really quick. Yup, the director was to blame. I could tell it was the director because the source material seemed good enough and the cast used for the film is freaking phenomenal in terms of star power. Whatever, long story short this is a cult classic because fans of the source material are willing to over look all the film's shortcomings.
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Excruciatingly boring
pninson22 January 2010
This a love it or hate cult film. Either you force your date to sit through it, or your date forces you to sit through it. Perhaps, if you're lucky, you will both hate it or you will both love it. The last person I dated loved it, and of the handful of uninteresting films I sat through for her sake, this took the cake. 103 grueling minutes of stupid, unfunny jokes, nonsensical plot, this is an incoherent, muddled collage of random non sequiturs, and is painful to sit through. This is the kind of movie that makes you want to get up and wash the dishes, just for a little excitement. Dull beyond belief.

And the worst I did to her was make her watch ROCK AND ROLL HIGH SCHOOL.
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The theme is so addictive..
rabid_halfling6 December 2003
One of the shining gems of cool movies I remember from 80's.. Pure classical pulp sci-fi, no real science but plain ol' fun.. It's where i got one of my fav insult.. "Monkey Boy". John Lithgow was great in this movie as the evil master mind.. boo yah..
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